French President Francois Hollande makes first appearance since affair reports, avoids questions

By Daniel S Levine,

French President Francois Hollande faced the media Tuesday in his annual press conference on the state of France. He was supposed to talk about the country’s economy, but instead, the media hoped he would comment on the reports that he is having an affair with an actress.

On Friday, Hollande threatened to take legal action against the Closer tabloid, which published a report claiming that he and actress Julie Gayet were meeting at a Paris apartment in an affair. He is not married, but his official partner is Valerie Trierweiler, considered France’s First Lady. Trierweiler spent the weekend in a hospital for rest and tests.

The Wall Street Journal reports that during today’s press conference, Hollande was asked if Trierweiler is still considered France’s First Lady. “I understand your question, and I am sure you will understand my response. Everyone in personal life goes through ordeals,” Hollande said. “It's a painful moment. But I have one principle — private affairs are dealt with privately.”

Later, Hollande made it clear that he does not want to talk about the reports at the moment. “This is not the place not the time, to do it,” he said, notes the New York Times. However, he will have an answer on who is France’s First Lady before next month’s trip to Washington, D.C.

The Socialist leader tried to outline new plans to help France’s economy, noting, “France has lost its economic strength over the last ten years.” He said he would cut taxes that hurt labor and also cut spending by the government. “Cutting spending is the necessary path to cutting deficits and it is a condition for any tax cuts,” Hollande explained.

image: Wikimedia Commons

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